Oscar nominations 2015: can Brits win big at Academy Awards?
Theory of Everything and Imitation Game tipped for success at the Oscars, if they escape each other's shadow
The shortlist for this year's Academy Awards was announced today in Beverly Hills, Los Angeles, with British talent featuring strongly in the nominations. The Theory of Everything and The Imitation Game, and their stars, are tipped for success, but some say the similarities of the British biopics might hinder their hopes of a gong. Here are the British films and actors in the running for an award:
The Old Etonian took home this year's best actor Golden Globe for his starring role as Professor Stephen Hawking in The Theory of Everything, making him a favourite for the best actor Oscar. Eddie Redmayne's transformation into Hawking is "flat-out mesmerising", according to Sean O'Connell at Cinemablend. "He is stunning. This is one of the year's greatest performances, and I believe Redmayne currently is the one to beat in the best actor category."
Kaleem Aftab of The Independent says Sherlock star Benedict Cumberbatch deserves a best actor nomination at the "very least" for his "brilliant turn" as Alan Turing, the Second World War code-breaker convicted for gross indecency over a homosexual act, in The Imitation Game. Aftab calls it the "performance of his career". Cumberbatch missed out on a Golden Globe to Redmayne, but will he take home the Academy Award?
Tanya Ghahremani of Bustle was convinced that Felicity Jones deserved an Oscar just from watching the trailer for The Theory of Everything. While Redmayne's physical transformation as Stephen Hawking has been described as "remarkable", the Atlantic says Jones matches his uncanny appropriation of Hawking's tics and humour with a more subdued transformation.
The actress's role as Amy Dunne, star of Gone Girl, won her a Golden Globe nomination, but critics seem less convinced that she will succeed at the Oscars. In the blockbuster movie, based on the book by Gillian Flynn, Pike plays a self-possessed femme fatale, a character that rarely attracts nominations at the Academy Awards, let alone a win, says Susan Wloszczyna at IndieWire. Nevertheless Pike's in with a shot after she was shortlisted for best actress today.
Variety's Ramin Setoodeh was correct in predicting that Keira Knightley would "definitely" be nominated in the supporting actress category for The Imitation Game, but he thinks her most "lovable" role this year was in John Carney's musical comedy Begin Again. He describes her performance as a struggling Manhattan singer-songwriter as her "Annie Hall moment" and says he wishes more people had seen the movie.
The Theory of Everything
James Marsh's Stephen Hawking biopic "ticks all the right boxes" and should enjoy a "strong push through the crowded Oscar field", says Sean O'Connell at Cinemablend. He describes it as "smart, emotional and well-directed" boasting some of the finest performances of the season. It has already been nominated for ten British Academy Film Awards and four Golden Globes, including best motion picture.
The Imitation Game
Another best picture contender is Morten Tyldum's British biopic about Alan Turing. The Imitation Game picked up the top award at Toronto Film Festival last year and is described by Kaleem Aftab in The Independent as "the best British film of the year". Katey Rich at Vanity Fair suggests that the similarities between The Theory of Everything and The Imitation Game will mean the two films will "never escape each others' shadow" – but she can't deny that both have had a lot of Oscar buzz.
And one that was snubbed...
Oxford-born Oyelowo, known for his role in BBC drama Spooks, received rave reviews for his performance as Martin Luther King in Selma. The film focuses on the civil rights marches that King led from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama in 1965. Glenn Whipp at LA Times describes the performance as "extraordinary", while Variety's Jenelle Riley predicted that Oyelowo had "a good shot at breaking into the crowded lead actor race". But when the nominations were published today, Oyelowo's name was nowhere to be seen.